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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Q1. How have the COVID-19 pandemic and the current food, energy and financing crises changed the priorities of your organization? 

IFAD recognizes that it is developing countries that are hardest hit by the current, compounded crises and that global economic recovery necessitates a longer-term perspective and investment in resilience at the local and micro level. The Fund has responded to the current set of global crises though the following initiatives:

• Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF): In April 2020, IFAD launched a multi-donor COVID-19 RPSF. This initiative aligns with the UN socio-economic response framework and complements IFAD’s broader COVID-19 response efforts. It seeks to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods in the context of the crisis by ensuring timely access to inputs, information, markets and liquidity. The Facility leverages the UN Secretary-General’s Response and Recovery Fund and the work of other multilateral partners to achieve food security for the millions of poor rural people in the most remote and vulnerable communities.

• Crisis Response Initiative (CRI): Launched in May 2022, the CRI is an initiative to channel grant resources to protect productive livelihoods from the impact of the current war in Ukraine on agricultural input, food and fuel markets and prices, while at the same time allowing small scale rural producers to benefit from new local market opportunities that may result from the crisis. With respect to IFAD’s ongoing programme of work, the initiative is designed to protect and support development impact gains and progress in building resilience, and is thus intended to be strongly complementary to this programme of work. As such, investments are encouraged primarily to address needs and implement activities anchored in, and synergetic with, activities in the programme of work. CRI’s planned implementation activities are comprised of four pillars: (i) ensuring small-scale farmers, fishers and livestock producers have affordable access to inputs such as breeding stock, seeds, fodder, fuel, fertilizer and technology; (ii) improving food systems and production by investing in small-scale infrastructure to improving productive capacity and reduce post-harvest losses; (iii) supporting access to finance; and (iv) facilitating access to markets. Based on criteria laid out in EB 2022/135/R.39, the initiative targets 22 countries. As funding is mobilized for the initiative, country proposals for funding will be solicited in the order of prioritization presented in EB 2022/135/R.39. Each CRI country proposal funded has a budget of about US$ 3.0 – 3.3 million, and an implementation period of up to 12 months. The CRI will complete activities by end 2024.

• Global Crisis Response Group on food, energy and finance (GCRG): To help address these crises at a global and institutional level, IFAD is contributing to the Secretary-General’s GCRG – a key coordination mechanism for the UN’s high-level messages and policy recommendations. The GCRG aims to help decision makers mobilize solutions and develop strategies and recommendations to help countries, including the most vulnerable, weather the crisis. The GCRG is comprised of three workstreams: food, energy and finance. IFAD actively contributes to the food workstream and the IFAD President participates in the steering committee. To date, the GCRG has produced three briefs, along with associated high-level messaging.

• Joint Programme for the Sahel in Response to the Challenges of COVID-19, Conflict and Climate Change (SD3C): is a response to the challenges of COVID-19, conflicts and climate change and will contribute to the implementation of the G5 Sahel strategy for development and security. It aims to consolidate the livelihoods of small producers, in particular women and young people living in cross-border areas of the region. The target group is estimated at 123,000 rural households or 854,750 people, half of whom are women and 40 per cent young people. SD3C will implement three components: (i) increase in agrosilvopastoral and fishery productivity and production though climate-resilient agricultural practices and technologies; (ii) economic integration through interventions aimed at strengthening cross-border markets and securing border transactions; (iii) political dialogue, coordination and management integrated into the coordination mechanisms of the G5 Sahel. The strategy is designed to meet the challenges of emergency, development and peace following a rapid intervention approach based on the scaling up of solutions and approaches already tested and capitalized in the context of the G5 Sahel by FAO, IFAD, WFP and their local partners. The programme is planned for a period of six years.


Q2. How has your organization supported Member States to accelerate their recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in these efforts to achieve coherence and synergies? Please highlight up to three high-impact initiatives, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs and involves interagency collaboration. Concrete initiatives might be selected to be spotlighted during relevant intergovernmental meetings.

Initiative Rural Poverty Stimulus Facility (RPSF)
Partners Governments, NGOs, Farmers Organizations, RBAS, UN agencies, etc. Donors: Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland
Relevant SDGs 1 & 2
Member States benefiting from the initiative All
Description Given the magnitude of the challenge presented by this crisis, IFAD implemented a multi-donor COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF). This initiative aligns with the UN socio-economic response framework and complements IFAD’s broader COVID-19 response efforts. Under the facility, IFAD allocated 100 per cent of its available US$ 89.0 million across 64 projects in all five of IFAD’s regions, comprised of 55 single country projects and nine multi-country projects. More than half of resources went to lower-income countries and 95 per cent of resources to lower or lower-middle income countries. Approximately half of resources went to countries with fragile situations. Funds were spread across each of the RPSF four pillars, namely: provision of inputs, access to markets, access to finance, and digital services.


Initiative Crises Response Initiative (CRI)
Partners Ireland (Donor), Netherlands (Donor), United States (Donor)
Relevant SDGs 1 & 2
Member States benefiting from the initiative Somalia, Eritrea and Afghanistan

CRI has been designed to build on the recent experience and success of the RPSF in responding to COVID-19 and lessons learned in how to intervene during severe crises, especially in similar operating contexts, and how to address related shocks to inputs and supply. Regions of particular concern are: the Horn of Africa due to emerging drought and conflict related famine, Southern Africa due to cyclones, and the Sahel due to increasing insecurity. IFAD’s Project Management Departmet has readied nine CRI proposals based on initial indicative commitments from donors. They include: Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Haiti, Madagascar, Burundi and Eritrea. Additional proposals for Malawi and Central African Republic have also been prepared and are awaiting submission for when a second call is issued. WFP and IFAD Country offices have been working on the ground together in countries such as Yemen to prepare joint proposals, providing a strong example of teams coming together to identify common solutions for the most vulnerable populations



Initiative Joint Programme for the Sahel in Response to the Challenges of COVID-19, Conflict and Climate Change (SD3C)
Partners FAO, WFP
Relevant SDGs 1 & 2
Member States benefiting from the initiative Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania

This RBA joint endeavour brings together respective experience of the three RBAs and comparative advantage to support the project. In implementing this initiative, IFAD provides funding, technical and strong coordination support, while FAO and WFP bring technical expertise and implementation support. It is important to maintain the good working dynamic observed between the 3 agencies for the smooth running of the programme. For the success of this programme, inter-agency operational coordination is essential to maximise integration and strengthen synergy



Q3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing full implementation of SDGs at national, regional and global levels? 

In terms of policy and analytical support for COVID-19, there are planned, ongoing and completed studies across 46 countries and also at the regional level. The majority of these studies are being conducted in collaboration with United Nations country teams (UNCTs) and with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other development agencies. Most of them focus on conducting rapid assessments of the situation in the agricultural or rural sector, often with an emphasis on the challenges faced by women and youth. This again looked at SDGs 1 and 2, but also 5 and others. For example, in a recently published study, IFAD, FAO, WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined forces to assess how investment in agriculture could improve health outcomes, provide livelihood alternatives for rural people, enhance food and economic self-sufficiency, and improve resilience to external shocks in the Pacific. As part of the United Nations response to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on food systems across the Pacific Islands, this report offers a consolidated analysis of pre-COVID food security and nutrition challenges and outlines key actions needed to respond to the current impacts, inform medium- to long-term recovery planning, and better prepare for future crises. It reflects cross-cutting development challenges – especially of small island developing state – with a focus on post-COVID-19 recovery through food systems. The majority of the publicly available assessments and reports on the food security and nutrition impacts of COVID-19 focused on Fiji, Samoa and the Solomon Islands. A few included Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, but less information was collected on other Pacific Island countries. Papua New Guinea is not within the scope of this report.… .


Q4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. For example, what has worked particularly well as a model for effective stakeholder engagement? 

With regards for the RPSF - In-country partnerships were critical for the facility, and proved to be key determinants of projects’ achievements or challenges. IFAD implemented through 50 governments, 15 NGOs, Farmers organizations or other third party entities, and collaborated with RBAs in eight projects. Additionally, all RPSF projects undertook consultation with UN country teams, and third party entities still often worked alongside governments, which helped to ensure their buy-in.

Working with national and local stakeholders was key to responding quickly, and also increases sustainability or scalability of these emergency response projects. This was an important goal of the RPSF. When working with governmental bodies that already worked with IFAD’s (or others) development projects, these emergency projects also had the benefit of directly responding to preserve the development gains of other programmes. In other cases, RPSF funds were implemented through third-parties like NGOs and farmers organizations that are deeply rooted in the target communities. Working with established governmental partners and local actors as implementing agents ensured that there was an existing implementation architecture in place which helped to expedite the response and buy in for the success. This improved rapid and attentive designs of RPSF projects followed by quick programme start up.


Q5. In the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA Resolution 74/4), Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation. Please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in these ten priority areas:

5.3 enhancing national implementation

IFAD has launched grant programmes to strengthen capacity of Govt to implement development programmes, including: AATI to support Govts to implement their Agricultural Strategies, BuildProc on enhancing procurement capacity at project levels, PRIME on strengthening M&E capacity of Govt PMUs; DELIVER on strengthening programme management and Results based management in 6 countries (Ghana, Togo, Ecuador, Solomon Islands), AVANTI to undertake Ag Scans to support Govts in assessing their capacity gaps in Ag sector.

Q6. Following the adoption of the 2022 Ministerial Declaration, please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted related to the below, if applicable:

6.1 Member States encouraged "the United Nations system and all relevant actors to take advantage of emerging technologies and their applications, as appropriate, in order to maximize impact and effectiveness in data analysis and collection and stress the need to bridge the digital gap among and within countries" (Paragraph 86)

IFAD has developed its own Information and Communications Technology for Development Strategy (ICT4D) and recognizes the centrality of ICT in promoting food security and sustainable, inclusive rural transformation. Between 2018 and 2019, IFAD made an in-depth review of its work in the area of ICT4D, mapping needs and organizational assets, benchmarking it to the initiatives undertaken by key Development Partners. This activity led to the development of a 10-year ICT4D strategy that will guide the work of the organization between 2020 and 2030. The objective of the ICT4D strategy is to provide IFAD with a framework for leveraging ICT to increase development impact and improve the economic and social conditions of rural people through increased agricultural productivity, greater benefits from market participation and strengthened household resilience. To this end, the strategy proposes four action areas: (i) promote scalable uptake of ICT4D solutions; (ii) strengthen ICT4D partnerships; (iii) enhance ICT4D knowledge management and sharing; and (iv) build internal ICT4D awareness, capacity and leadership. (The organization identified three focus areas, promoting the use of digital technologies: improving rural people’s access to information and advisory services; improving rural people’s access to services (including market services); and improving rural people’s access to finance.

6.2 Member States specifically called upon the UN system "to work with the newly established United Nations Food Systems Coordination Hub, hosted by FAO, to support Governments to develop and strengthen SDG-based national pathways for sustainable food systems transformation" (Paragraph 128)

As one of the partners responsible for the Food Systems Summit follow-up and member of the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, IFAD continues to play a leadership role and support system-wide efforts towards realizing the SDGs. Of the five priority work streams identified at the summit, IFAD is responsible for leading on action track 4 – Advancing equitable livelihoods and value distributions.


Q7. The 2023 SDG Summit is expected to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development and follow-up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, including through national and regional consultations, which will mark the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the SDGs. In the lead up to the 2023 SDG Summit, please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date. 

In an effort to achieve the SDGs, IFAD is enacting dedicated action plans to improve performance in weaker areas. As part of the People, Processes and Technology Plan, the Fund is implementing a more robust risk-based assurance methodology, covering both financial control in cash disbursement and financial management, two key areas affecting efficiency. The action plan on sustainability offers a repository of resources for increasing sustainability in a wide variety of contexts to enable country teams to develop a tailored approach to increasing sustainability and developing sound exit strategies for better ownership.

IFAD will continue to leverage its procurement systems for better project management. Based on the updated operational framework for scaling up results, IFAD Country Strategic Opportunity Programmes will be the main vehicle for scaling up by strategically considering interventions planned for approval. Under Decentralization 2.0, nearly half of new and upgraded offices will be in fragile countries, and close to 70 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, 15 to further address elements of fragility in project design.

IFAD’s new corporate strategy on SSTC places an even sharper focus on partnerships, policy engagement and innovation but will be effective only if resources are forthcoming. Country-level policy engagement will also be key, with additional guidance tools under development and new training under IFAD’s Operations Academy (OPAC); however, additional non-lending resources are also required. Under the new IFAD12 business model, the Fund will focus core resources on LICs while expanding financing through the Borrowed Resource Access Mechanism (BRAM). Together, these actions will shape IFAD’s results in the coming years and lead to a greater and deeper impact, advancing progress on the 2030 Agenda.


ECESA Plus Member
Year of submission: 2022